Duangpetch Promthep – also known as Dom – one of the 12 members of the Wild Boars youth football team that was rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand in 2018, has died in the UK.
Duangpetch, a talented footballer, moved to the UK in 2022 to attend the Brooke House College football academy in Leicestershire, England. The cause of his death has not been confirmed, but a spokesperson for Leicestershire police said that they were not treating the death as suspicious.
Reports in the Thai media state that he was found unconscious in his dorm room with ‘a head injury.’
‘The college is liaising with statutory authorities and the Royal Thai embassy in London, and dedicating all resources to assist our student body, as they as young people process Dom’s passing,’ said Brooke House principal, Ian Smith. ‘Beyond that, we are unable to comment further at this time and would ask for privacy and compassion as we continue to support the students in our care at this time, drawing on the kindness and assistance of the Market Harborough community.
‘This event has left our college community deeply saddened and shaken,’ said Smith. ‘We unite in grief with all of Dom’s family, friends, former teammates and those involved in all parts of his life, as well as everyone affected in any way by this loss in Thailand and throughout the college’s global family.’
Before moving to the UK, Duangpetch was the captain of the Wild Boars youth football team that, along with their coach, became trapped in the Tham Luang cave system near Chiang Rai, northern Thailand, in July 2018.
The world’s attention was focused on the subsequent rescue over the 17 days it took to successfully locate and rescue the 13 missing footballers. Teams of international cave diving experts joined forces with the Thai Navy Seals in a dramatic operation that has since spawned several movies, including the documentary The Rescue and the Hollywood blockbuster Thirteen Lives, directed by Ron Howard and starring Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrel.
Saman Kunan, a 37-year-old former Thai Navy Seal, died during the rescue operation.
In a tribute to his close friend, Prachak Sutham said: ‘You told me to wait and see you play for the national team, I always believe that you would do it.
‘When we met the last time before you left for England, I even jokingly told you that when you come back, I would have to ask for your autograph.
‘Sleep well, my dear friend. We will always have 13 of us together.’